Many of the business owners we meet with are struggling under the weight of growing debt. Recent research has shown that late and non-payment continues to be an issue, alongside access to funding and internal issues relating to how the company operates and its approach to cost and credit control.
Below we give some advice on the steps that SMEs can take to relieve the pressure and put their business on a more secure financial footing.
Analyse your costs
Look at all your expenses and see if savings can be made. Are your premises too large for your requirements? Do you really need the state-of-the-art phone system? Can you sell-off any unused equipment?
Cash flow is king
The old adage remains as true as ever so look at the procedures you have in place for robust credit control. Credit check new customers, ensure invoices are sent out promptly, and payment chased as soon as it becomes overdue. If all else fails and payment is not forthcoming, then it is time to consider putting the matter in the hands of a debt collection agency or solicitor. The impact of late payment on cash flow should not be underestimated. It could result in you going out of business.
Look for sources of support and funding
It is worth exploring the many types of Government grants and funding that you may be eligible for. Gov.uk is a comprehensive source of information.
Consolidate your loans
It may be possible to consolidate several shorter-term loans into one payment by taking out a single low-interest loan. This will not adversely affect your credit rating and, by reducing the number of creditors you are dealing with, will make the debt easier to manage.
Many SMEs operate with a level of debt at which they are comfortable, but for some, it can become unmanageable. If you find yourself in this situation, it is wise to take proactive action to put yourself back in control of your finances before the debt overtakes you.
If you still struggling, maybe now is the time to take advice. This may be a friend, your accountant or an insolvency practitioner. Often it is the outsider who spots the issues and provides possible solutions.’